Picking up from Jill’s previous blog on the Art Ovation Hotel and all its activities, may I now announce:
ACT II – Overture Restaurant
“If music be the food of love, play on.” William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, 1602.
Not to trivialize the Bard’s depth of intellect, but at the Overture Restaurant, I might suggest that if food be the music of life, pick up your fork, and savor on.
The brilliant and wholly integrated concept of the arts, hospitality, and ultimately food and drink found us in the sophisticated and warm confines of the Overture Restaurant.
Overture manager Judy Cote warmly greeted us (and everyone else) and was clearly and completely in her element. I was almost suffering from whiplash from all the eye candy design and art of the hotel, so it was a welcome respite to look over the menu and start with a beautiful cocktail.
My (new favorite/must try) was the “Get On Your Feet,” a magnificent cocktail featuring Absolut Pepper Vodka with a celery-cucumber-green bell pepper juice that’s made in-house, along with lime juice, simple syrup (because you need some sweet against that spice!) and Indian tonic. Served in a tall glass with a straw, this was one refreshing cocktail.
Jill ordered The Prelude, served in an old-time Martini glass with a sprig of fresh rosemary. Heading the flavors was Absolute Vodka and Carpano Bianco with charred grape syrup and cherry bitters. The Carpano Bianco is a vermouth that’s known for winey notes and citrusy flavors. Jill enjoyed how that paired with the fresh rosemary that deepened in flavor the longer it sat in the glass. “I’d better pace myself,” she said, commenting on how smoothly the flavors tasted against the tongue, and how easily you could lose track of how quickly you drink this delightful cocktail.
Now here’s where dining out can get tricky. I rarely eat bread with my meals at home, unless it’s part of the dish itself, like a Wellington or a sandwich. If it’s at all possible to avoid bread, I’m all for it. But at Overture Restaurant, the bread is pretty much irresistible. It’s a cheesy, light bread that’s served on a skewer, with a hint of rosemary and salt. While it comes with creamy butter and a jammy sun-dried tomato pesto, this bread was hot from the oven and just too darn delicious to resist. Did I mention the clever lucite paint bucket it came in? I was tempted to order another bucket until I realized I would have been asking for a bucket of bread! That sounded gluttonous to me, so I held back.
I love tomatoes. No, I actually LOOOVE tomatoes! So the smoked tomato tartare selection jumped off the menu at me. Rightly so, as this beautifully composed dish tangoed with my taste buds. It was fresh, slightly-sweet with just the right notes of acidity, and deftly seasoned flavors that still have me dreaming of it. The tomatoes were choreographed into a beautiful presentation with capers, shallots, Dijon mustard, and chives, which danced so well with the toast points. (See how I did that?!) Edible flowers made the perfect touch!
Jill had invited me to pick the two appetizers since she’d been to Overture Restaurant previously and already raved about the Crispy Fried Brussel Sprouts and Deviled Eggs. So, after her “suggesting” I try either of those two appetizers, I threw a curveball and ordered the Blistered Shishito Peppers. Let me tell you this . . . there were a LOT of peppers on this plate! While Jill approached them gingerly at first, I do believe this was her favorite appetizer of the evening. The blistered skin of the peppers was crispy, sprinkled with sesame seeds, the interior soft and creamy. They weren’t especially spicy, which could be a concern to some folks. . . but trust me on this, the heat was ideal for most palates, and you wouldn’t want to miss that papery crisp pepper skin.
The fried calamari strips might be more accurately called calamari “planks.” Rather than the normal rings, the thick, meaty calamari was soaked in buttermilk and encased in a light, yet rich breading, and fried to a perfect consistency for my tastes, as I prefer a slight chewiness to calamari. Ovation’s calamari is served with a lemon caper butter (!!) and cocktail sauce as well as a bright squeeze of fresh lemon.
For our Interlude course, Jill ordered the Overture Salad with crispy bibb lettuce, strawberries, candied pecans, and feta cheese lightly dressed with a poppy seed dressing. The little red powder on the side was a strawberry dust, made in-house, as a tangy touch to this beautiful plating. This was a hearty sized portion, so those guests looking for a light meal may consider adding a protein to the Overture Salad, and enjoy it as a main course.
My order of the Roasted Beet Salad arrived on an artist’s palette-shaped dish and was another example of putting the “art” in Art Ovation. Firm, juicy red, yellow and candy-striped beets were fanned out, interspersed with goat cheese and walnuts for a lovely textural bite, dressed with maple balsamic vinaigrette and edible botanicals. When I thought I had finished, I moved my plate aside whereupon Jill, without missing a beat, (actually beet,) found another tasty morsel hidden under some peppery arugula.
Who am I to say no to Grilled Filet Mignon? Especially one dressed with a lush, rich foie gras butter, and sitting atop a simple but genius preparation of Robuchon potatoes. This “puree de pomme” consists of four simple ingredients – potatoes, butter, heavy cream, and salt – that are creamed until they’re super silky, tasting both rich and light at the same time. Grilled asparagus adorned this luxurious meal, and I believe the plate was cleaner after I finished than before the kitchen plated it up!
I don’t know if it was the suggestion of my entrée having a butter component, but Jill said she could have sworn there was a butter braise to the Simply Roasted Chicken at Overture Restaurant. (She even asked our server to confirm that with the chef. Was the chicken roasted in butter? No!) Roasted with a simple pan sauce, she considered this wholesome chicken the perfect companion to our appetizer choices. Served with herb fingerling potatoes and braised carrots, this is one of those dishes that would make any travel weary guest feel more at home. Sometimes simple is best, don’t you agree?
While Jill and I both agreed that we were too full for dessert, Overture manager Judy Cote stopped by the table to ask how we’d enjoyed our dinner. When she heard we that opted to skip dessert, she would hear none of that! Soon one of Overture’s Flourless Chocolate Tortes arrived at the table, compliments of Judy. This
is was a stunning dish. The torte sat atop raspberry and mango coulis, with white chocolate straws and fresh whipped cream hold up a light as air chocolate macaron. The torte itself is a decadent chocolate with chocolate ganache and vanilla anglaise, rich, creamy and totally worth going off your diet for.
The entire experience of the evening at Art Ovation Hotel is one we will surely be talking about and recommending for years to come. Bravo!